“Change” – A Literati Mafia Collaboration

 

Featured Image -- 1910

 

It was wonderful to write this with The Melancholy Spitfire.  I hope you all enjoy!

 

 

The literati mafia

Some nights, I randomize my entire music collection. I like the surprise of never knowing which songs I’ll hear, or which memory roads they may lead me down.

A song from Grease, the musical, plays. Those Magic Changes. It’s a song I love to sing from the corners of lonely rooms.

I think of change and how it is, indeed, magic. I should know. I’m a master of illusions. I make grand, spectacular entrances, then no one notices when I log off dart out the back door with loads of ancient secrets & experiences up my sleeves.

I leave dust bunnies behind. Trace evidence of my existence. Clues for anyone paying close enough attention.

And isn’t that just the thing, darkling?
No one’s paying any attention.
Paranoia only invents the idea that I am constantly under a magnifying glass.

The one constant change–the magic–that I can believe in…

View original post 557 more words

The Nostalgia Tapes #8 – “Released”

 

released

 

 

The Nostalgia Tapes #8 – “Released” // by Jennifer Patino

 

Dreams. Dreams of knives being driven into me. I know the faces of my enemies, who wield my failures in front of me. Who taunt me with old lines I fed them to make them stop. I find myself here, at a bus stop. I have a brown paper grocery bag full of clothes, toiletries, & instructions from the hospital. I’ll throw these away when I finally walk to my destination. I don’t need anyone to tell me how to live my life. It started raining as I ran to the coffee shop. Waiting for the bus would have taken way too long.

I meet a couple in love & a lonely old man outside. I think they think I’m homeless, & I suppose I am, technically, since I’m this odd puzzle piece that can’t seem to fit into any mold shaped for me, but for now there is an awning above me so I am sheltered. The sad widower mentions there will be a storm tonight.

 

***

 

I keep my friend awake too long. She’s kind to let me stay, & she understands that some days I just won’t sleep. Some nights I’ll need stars to calm me down. Some nights I’ll need the same song on repeat. Sometimes I’ll wake up bleeding.

From the knives. I avert my gaze from them every time. They’re too tempting. I live to prove to myself that I am not dangerous. I live to prove to others that I am still very much alive. Those who wish me dead are still out there somewhere. I think too much about whether or not they’re thinking too much about me. I close my eyes. Death in a dream is my destiny.

 

Note: “The Nostalgia Tapes” are a collection of short prose & poetry that I’ve been working on for about three years. Honestly, I don’t know when it will be finished, or how it will be released once I do finish it, but here’s a bit of prose from it. Also, the good folks over at L’ÉPHÉMÈRE REVIEW were kind enough to publish “The Nostalgia Tapes #1 : Joyride” last summer. You can check that out here

 

___________________________________________

This writer is a member of The Literati Mafia.

 

 

Omertà 3

The literati mafia

A Literati Mafia Collaboration: Part III


Silence is seen as a treacherous doubled-edged sword in my tumultuous mind. I never knew what silence meant in my daily life. Since a little girl, I have watched my family delve into anger and confusion over money and disagreement. I have seen people stab me in the back as I grow older, letting emotion cover every fiber of my being as i’m lost in my own sense of noise. I have seen those that don’t know one true fact about me, talk down about my hopes and dreams. It floods my mind in waves. For when I heard conversation behind my back, I knew it was words in which would cover me in blood and agony.  I was finally cleansed. I forgot about those that used words to hurt each other, or hurt me. I began to find silence was spectacular. I didn’t…

View original post 405 more words

Prose – “Floor”

 

wall

 

Floor // by Jennifer Patino

 

I’d be lying if I said I were comfortable. Someone once said, “You wear pajamas all day, how can you not be comfortable?” Another said, “You’re at home in your room, how are you not comfortable?” My hooded sweatshirt is comfortable. I make sure to wash it correctly so all of its warm fuzziness will stick around for awhile. I love those hospital socks with the skid resistant patches on the bottoms. If I have to run from something, I won’t fall upon the linoleum.

I like pressing my face to that cool, sticky surface when I have a migraine. I turn the lights off, & pray the pain away. I like rubbing my cheek after I fall asleep. I feel the lines & indents coinciding with wherever I’ve finally been able to capture a small reprieve. A cat nap. I hate cats.

There is no being comfortable when your skin doesn’t fit you. There is no being comfortable in a body convinced it has been dying for the past decade. There is no being comfortable when you’re so full after swallowing nothing. There is no being comfortable when you’re constantly hungry, but your belly, your abdomen, & your insides always feel so swollen & full.

I’d be lying if I said there were still good days. I’d be lying if I told you I just liked changing my trash cans daily. That it has nothing to do with the vomiting. It has nothing to do with the gagging. It has nothing to do with how my throat feels like it wants to expel my kidneys from me, but that won’t happen. It will, however, keep constricting & trying. I can feel my organs twisting within me. Pulsing like a planet with foreign invaders. They burst, & alien bodies enter my bloodstream. I cater to a whole galaxy, & they exist only to feed upon me.

Drinking water takes willpower. Leaving the bed is a little miracle. My face is pressed to the floor in defeat. I am conquered today. I pray for sleep.

 

 

Prose Poem – “Blue Book”

 

blue

 

Blue Book // by Jennifer Patino

 

I read your life story. Of course, the book cover was blue. I remembered the old you. Songs of a dying man belted in smoke filled dive bars. Transient chord progressions. Your E minor love period.

I once told you I loved you at one of your shows. I screamed it from the back row. It ended up on the live recording. Your blush didn’t. I knew it was there, though.

You put the song you wrote for me on my birthday mix tape. A bonus hidden track. “Just like you,” you said. “I recorded it in the bathroom. It sounds excellent. Reminds me of escape.”

You once told me there were 38 cracks on your bathroom ceiling. You counted them while you were drunk. The fluorescent light would flicker every 8 ½ minutes, give or take, and you knew there was meaning in that, and in the water stained porcelain sink with its missing chunk. You spent many a sleepless night searching for meaning in seemingly random things. Of all this, you would sing.

I already mourned the old you. Buried the big, blue book. I wouldn’t recognize the new you whispering through the orange groves even if the words sounded achingly familiar. Even if you sported your post-weekend-haze look.

I’m etched onto your vinyl collection somewhere. I’m a photo in an old guitar magazine. You’re gone to me. Vanished in plain sight. Unseen.

My old car ate your mix tape. I kept it in there, handed off the keys, and wondered if the new owner would be looking for some meaning in that, or would even care.

The old haunts honor the ghost of your squandered talent. Patrons sip your brand of beer and talk about you. All your love. All your hate. I nod and count the ceiling cracks. I always stop at 38.

 

 

Prose – “March”

march

 

March // by Jennifer Patino

 

March comes when you least expect it to. You are still recovering from January’s freeze. There are icicles left in your eyelashes from all the crying done in February.

Crows start gathering in the garden below the picture window. The winds blow, but they are no longer howling. There is a tickle in your nose. Spring allergens. They’ve come to roost.

The sun holds on at high noon. It beats down on the suburbanites shuffling to lunch. It pierces your retinas when you head out to the garden for afternoon tea.

Bees buzz, replacing the wood splitters’ saw. March has its own frequency. You feel it just under your skin’s third layer. You can feel change crawling its way out. You can’t stuff anything back now like you did all winter because it’s melting now. Higher temperatures, lower mood. This is how it overtakes you.

It’s always going to be odd to others. Who can be sad in spring and summer when there are so many colors about? When you wear lighter and brighter fabrics? When you can swim and tan and barbecue and socialize and all of these things that so many others like to do? Everyone except for you.

The heat hurts. It stifles you. It makes you feel as if you are encased in needles and there will never be any escape from it. Your eyes are not like others. Yours see so much better in the dark. Yours shine in the cloudy grey of an Autumn day.

Your eyes can often see past that which is right in front of you. Sometimes this sight is fear driven. Sometimes others have convinced you that you’ve imagined some of what you see. Some of what you’ve seen. Other times, you believe God is showing you things. These are the things that make the most sense. These are the things you’ve stopped sharing because the whole world thinks you’re crazy enough.

Your body and mind both go through a transitional phase in March. There is a sense of cocooning that occurs. A shunning of all social graces. A tightening of muscles. A shortness of breath. A farewell to snowfall. A grieving of the longest nights.

You are a bud blooming too. Your brain starts to sprout, its own memory patch becoming overgrown too quickly by sinister and staticky weeds. There are beautiful colors inside your mind as well. Technicolor poms. Fireworks. Sizzling trails that start to manifest in waking life. These streaks of celestial whispers form auras around everything that lives and breathes. They cloud around inanimate objects. Man made luxuries. Rocks. Stones. Streams. You are entombed in a day glo dream but only during daylight. In sleep, you live a different sort of nightmare. You remember too harshly the summers that have passed.

You know you have no control over this. You’ve tried to get your grip on it. You’ve tried to wrestle it away. You’ve tried forcing yourself to feel as others say you should. You have taken every pill. Every potion. Done every breath exercise. Inhaled or ingested every remedy for forgetting recommended by everyone with something to forget. You have tried running but you never get very far.

It is no surprise to you that there are others out there, hiding, just as you are, who feel as you do. It is no surprise that those closest to you can often make you feel the most lonely. It is no surprise that most of your time spent is wishing you were someone else.

Daylight is saved during March. You become lost in March. Parts of you go missing. Parts of you return.

There is no butterfly that emerges at the end of this metamorphosis. There is no prize winning indigo rose emerging from the soil. There is no makeover happening. March is not your prepping time for your summer debut.

March is a signal. A warning sign. There are electric storms on the horizon for you. There are blackout shades on the windows. The crows peck at them from time to time.

 

 

Prose – “Where There’s Fire”

fire

 

Where There’s Fire // by Jennifer Patino

 

The room could be burning and I’d
hardly notice. I’m glued to shocking
news and a murky vision view
clouding how I want to feel.

It’s raining advice and soon everyone’s
voice blends together. The caring chorus
becomes a repetitive tornado. A cyclone
that picks me up then tosses me among
thorns or jagged rock. After electrical
storms, I am covered in bruises. Beaten.

I smell smoke but I’m so used to skin
singeing that it mixes with my own
smoldering offering. It is a sacred
fragrance. The smell of medicine.
The mouth watering hunger for the
end of suffering that at times can
feel so close. Can fire destroy fire?

By the looks of things, I may find out.